These are very elusive birds and it wasn't until they strapped on micro backpacks with geo locators did they learn that the Black Swifts in Ouray winter in Brazil, a 4300 mile journey to the lowland rainforest on the Amazon River. Researchers finally tracked the birds and the story is outlined in the Denver Post by writer Nancy Lofholm. These high flying creatures can't even purch on a branch or sit on a wire. They are only able to make their homes on the small crags of vertical canyon walls near very large waterfalls.
Sightings of the birds are very common, all summer long, at the Box Cañon Falls, a 5 minute walk from our hotel in Ouray, although most people don't know how rare a sighting can be.
The coloring of the plumage camoflages the birds and their nests and many visitors just walk right on by without even noticing the "coolest bird" on the way to view the falls themselves. Ouray has a preeminant birder who monitors the colony, assists visitors, educates people on the wonderful creatures and she is at the park most everyday, all summer long.
The falls themselves are stunning, with a thunderous roar of the water in springtime and only mildly quieter in mid and late summer.
Of course, Ouray has other avian visitors, including the broad tailed hummingbird, western tanagers, Stellar's Jay, and many a finch or warbler. In fact the Ouray County checklist which includes a whopping 249 birds.
Fruit trees lining the Main Street near Fellin Park (by the Ouray Hot Springs Pool) attract many birds as well.